Armagh 20 Banbridge 32
SATURDAY saw Armagh entertain local rivals Banbridge in the first round of the Ulster Senior Cup.
Due to a long list of injuries, holidays, work commitments etc, theArmag hsquad was depleted by some 30 players, making coach Andy Hughes’ selection decisions somewhat stretched!
Before the match got underway, pre-match entertainment in the clubhouse took on a particularly enjoyable tone when the invited guest Tommy Bowe took to the floor. After he had reminisced about his past days playing at Armagh, he announced, to the surprise of all present, that it was his father’s 60th birthday.
When a cake was produced and after the customary singing, Tommy presented his British 7 Irish Lions jersey and an Irish international jersey to the club.
As the game itself got underway, in near perfect conditions, it was obvious that the Banbridge pack were able to dominate both scrums and line-outs.
Indeed, this was even more evident as they scored what appeared to be a fairly easy try after only nine minutes. The conversion went wide but the visiters scored another at the posts which was converted to push the score up to 0-12.
Armagh seemed to settle at this stage and began to push Banbridge into a defensive position. This forced them to be penalised for killing the ball in front of their posts which Richard Reaney kicked and opened the home scoring. Unfortunately he missed a further two such kicks.
In the 36th minute out-half, Steenson, sent centre, Seamus Mallon, over to score a fine try following the deftest of overhead kicks which caught the Banbridge defence completely off-guard. This time Richard Reaney was on target with the conversion, bringing the score to 12-13 at the break.
The second half saw Banbridge score a further 19 points and a fine try by winger, Faloon, and a conversion by Reaney brought the final score to 20-32. A fair reflection on the day’s game.
Considering Armagh’s depleted squad this score must please AndrewHughes.
With this in mind the Armaghteam travel to meet Banbridge again next Saturday in the Ulster Senior League.
Wednesday night’s game against City of Derry has been postponed.